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Educational aims

In the Open Programme you can mould an Open degree to suit your changing needs or circumstances. Choosing from a wide range of rewarding and enjoyable modules you can steer your studies to focus on, or combine, personal interests and career needs. The programme aims to provide you with:

  • the flexibility to study modules in one or more subjects
  • the opportunity to develop your skills, knowledge and capabilities through the three levels of university study
  • an appreciation of the development of knowledge and its application in your chosen subjects
  • the skills to learn independently, organise information and communicate effectively, whether for academic study, employment, or your own pleasure and satisfaction.

Learning outcomes

An Open degree allows you to select modules from across the curriculum so that the learning outcomes of your degree will depend on a combination of outcomes from the modules you have studied. These will be described retrospectively in an academic transcript. As a student gaining an Open degree, you will have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate generic outcomes, including knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas.

Knowledge and understanding

You will:

  • acquire systematic knowledge of key aspects of the relevant discipline(s), some of it in specialist areas and informed by current thinking and developments
  • appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • use established ideas and techniques of analysis and enquiry appropriate to your studies
  • critically evaluate information, arguments and assumptions, being aware of the limitations of techniques and the limits of your knowledge
  • frame and address problems, questions and issues, being aware of the environment and context in which the problem exists.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of the degree, you will be able to demonstrate the following key skills:

  • communicate clearly and accurately, being aware of the requirements, knowledge and perspectives of others
  • use information technology and information literacy skills, where appropriate, to search for, exchange, process and evaluate information
  • plan, monitor and evaluate your own learning and performance, being aware of your own learning styles, strengths and needs.

Key skills

You will:

  • develop a high degree of autonomy as a learner, integrating study and personal development planning with an active awareness of skills development and a reflective approach to learning
  • use and develop further your knowledge, understanding and skills to contribute effectively in the workplace and the wider community.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will acquire your knowledge and understanding through a mix of published distance-learning materials, study guides, a range of multimedia material, face-to-face tutorials, online tuition and feedback on your assignments. Some modules also include residential schools. The precise nature of this mix will depend on your choice of modules. As you progress through the degree you will find that you are cumulatively increasing your level of knowledge and understanding and you can expect a significant portion of your progress to be assessed at third level.

Cognitive skills are taught cumulatively and in ways that will vary according to which modules you choose to study. They will include the use of written study materials, in-text questions, audio, visual and/or interactive material, carefully monitored feedback on assignments, as well as face-to-face or virtual tutorials and online forums.

The teaching, learning and assessment of key skills are also specific to the subjects you choose to include as part of your Open degree and in many modules are likely to be assessed indirectly.